Thursday, January 1, 2009

Friar's-side chat

During my lovely retreat in Connecticut earlier this week, while making a visit to the mother house of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate in Griswold, Connecticut, my prayers in the back pew of the chapel were interrupted by a friar handing me a note.

Seeing the piece of paper in the gray-hooded young man's hand, my first thought was that it would say, "The chapel closes in five minutes." Instead, to my surprise, it was a request for me to do a video interview for the order's Web site,

It was a joy to meet the all-Franciscan Air Maria video crew and offer them my appreciation of the great saint who inspired their multifaceted media ministry, Maximilian Kolbe. A high-quality version of the video may be viewed or downloaded at, or you can watch it in the low-fi YouTube clips below. The version has TV-style opening credits and would be a good discussion-starter for a church or campus ministry's young-adult group.

The interview was done in St. Joseph's Chapel, a beautiful stone structure outside the friary's main house. The heater was out, which is why I am dressed like the Michelin Man.

In Part 1, I begin to discuss the role St. Maximilian played in my conversion to Catholicism, which began while I was a copy editor at the New York Post. In Part 2, I continue the story and talk about how the saint's faith led me to develop a devotion to Mary. The final clip includes my observations on the fear that lies at the root of feminists' attacks on Marian devotion. (Although I did not mention any particular feminists, I had Amanda Marcotte in mind.) If you have time only to watch one of the clips, I recommend that segment.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

My book  The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On is available from All commissions on Amazon purchases made through this blog go to help pregnant women who suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum; for details, click here.

Thanks to Catholic Fire for being the first to blog about my interview.

Note: I'm still officially on vacation from blogging; will resume posting next week.